Esther Ranzen visit Childline’s Spitalfields headquarters to thank volunteers

CHILDLINE founder Esther Rantzen, will visit the charity’s Spitalfields base later today (Monday) to thank volunteers for the work they do, particularly around the Christmas period.

The confidential helpline was set up in 1986 to help children in danger or distress. Trained counsellors comfort and advise children and young people who call and contact them online.

During the Christmas period last year 308 children from around the country were counselled by volunteers at the headquarters in Folgate Street and 2,177 children by volunteers at ChildLine bases across the UK.

Ms Rantzen said: “Christmas can be a very painful time for some children experiencing abuse or feeling unloved, and I am so grateful to our ChildLine volunteers who sacrifice their own family time to be there for children who need to talk. Without our volunteers these children would have nowhere to turn.”

Mike Hardwick (54) has been a ChildLine counsellor for 16 years, working the Sunday shift. Most years he also volunteers on Christmas Eve.

He said: “This is when my help is most needed. By giving something up – I am getting something back. I’m rewarded in feeling that I’ve made a difference at a time that is significant.”

The most common reason for contacting ChildLine during last year’s Christmas period was around family relationships, with 15 per cent of calls and online contact relating to this, while bullying received 10 per cent and physical abuse eight per cent.